I am here packing up our camp kitchen for one last trip to the woods before summer’s end. I am a pretty lazy camp cook. Camping is one of my only times to truly relax, and, while sometimes I get big ideas, I try to bring things that are easy to prepare and clean up and that I can depend on my kids to eat. We have the same meals almost every time—hot dogs cooked over the campfire, pasta with pre-prepared pesto, burritos—everything tastes better in the great outdoors anyway.
Another mainstay in our camping pantry is these ‘camping cookies’. I’ve been making these cookies for 20 years, and I think the recipe might have originated on the side of an oatmeal box. It’s a chewy, crispy oatmeal cookie with chocolate, rice cereal and coconut, and, second to ginger-molasses, it’s my favorite cookie.
These are not low-fat or low-sugar cookies, but they are full of fiber and are a really satisfying snack on the trail. I’m sure the recipe could be adapted to use less refined sugar, but I’ve never tried. Camping cookies fall under the ‘don’t mess with a good thing’ category in our house. Despite their name, they are equally as good eaten in the comfort of your own home.
3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached white flour (whole wheat pastry flour works great as well)
1 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher flake salt)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (or substitute with more oats)
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (the better the chocolate, the better the cookie)
optional additions: dried cranberries, chopped nuts (I love them with pecans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars with mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats, coconut, rice cereal and chocolate. Stir together wet and dry ingredients until well combined. It will be a crumbly dough—make sure everything is incorporated well. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until slightly browned, but still wet at center. Cool on baking sheets and then transfer to a rack.